Aug 28

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World by Owun Birkett {Film review}

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Scott Pilgrim has a mix bag of genres. It’s a comic book movie, it’s an action movie, it’s a martial arts movie, it’s a comedy, it’s a romance, it’s a teen flick etc. But it surprisingly all blends well together! Being Edgar Wright’s first American film, he delivers all the goods and exceeds them.

The movie is based on a series of graphic novels by Bryan Lee O’Malley, about a Canadian slacker (Scott Pilgrim) who’s unemployed and plays in a band called Sex Bo-omb (Super Mario Bros. reference) but then falls in love with an American mystery girl (Ramona Flowers) who works for Amazon.ca. He later on finds out, unexpectedly, that Ramona has 7 evil ex’s and he must defeat them in order to go out with her. The idea sounds incredibly silly, but it works for the comic book material. As part of Wright’s trademark, this movie contains cultural references (in this case, 8-bit video games and video games in general). Though you don’t have to be a fan of video games to appreciate this film, it has enough to please anyone. It has a fluid pacing, giving us time to breathe after each fight with some intimate drama between Scott and Ramona. The fact that Wright compact 6 volumes into a 2 hour movie is incredible, never once where you got lost with the plot or the characters. That’s what I call an achievement, and therefore consider this as one of the best graphic novel adaptations ever made.

The casting is top-notch, not one thing do I have a complaint. Michael Cera kind of goes against his type-cast roles, he’s sentimental but he’s also an asshole at times. Though it’s a story of evolving and taking responsibility. Slowly bringing a resolution to the climax and thus brings a revelation to not only for Scott but everyone else. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is sweet and sympathetic, and makes the character interesting and have some back history (especially with her previous relationships). The seven evil ex’s, including Chris Evans and Brandon Routh, pretty much steal the show. You want to know more about them, but we’re given enough to what is already shown. They deliver comic timing perfectly, all credit to the acting/writing/direction. The rest of the cast all do really good jobs, newcomer Ellen Wong as Knives Chau really shines and did remarkably well.

The visual effects and action sequences are astounding, and extremely well done. This has so much vibe and energy, the fight choreography is very exciting to watch. Without becoming a repetition, every fight is different to each ex Scott goes against. As examples; Matthew Patel (Satya Bhabha) does in a style of a Bollywood dance-off at one point, and Todd Ingram (Brandon Routh) duels Scott in the style of Guitar Hero (through my eyes, at least). It’s a mix with real-life drama and fantasy action you’d expect in a video game.

I cannot help but compare to this film to Juno. It’s a teen movie, but it has more depth and intelligence than your average teen flick nowadays. Edgar Wright delivers drama that is touching, sweet but also funny. This is his most ambitious movie he’s made yet, and looking forward to what he’ll do next. Easily one of the best movies of 2010.

Side-note: The fact this is a box-office dud in the USA is shocking. What more do they want?